Landscape with Merchants Claude Lorrain Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Landscape with Merchants is a Claude Lorrain painting from circa 1630. The artist would only have been in his late twenties by the time of this work, placing it very early in his career.

This early Claude Lorrain artwork has a wealth of detail, perhaps a little more than he would later use. There is, for example, something of note in each and every corner of the composition, from the figures on the shore to the buildings dotted around in the background. The landscape is also multi-layered, with several stages as we move towards the mountains in the far distance. The clouds to the right hand side also hover menacingly, where as normally the artist would produce soft, fluffy clouds which might not impact lighting particularly significantly. The balance from left to right is also a little different as compared to his later works, with ridges to the right, and the left entirely dominated by a tall tree in the foreground. Normally it would be balanced between left and right, with a variation all across. The river here is also pronounced, curving aggressively from left to right and back again as the water snakes through from front to back.

This is one of the earliest items available from his career, and Claude developed incredibly quickly. Little can be found prior to around 1630, and what does appear is of fairly poor quality. He therefore progressed quickly, and even by this early point had already mastered many aspects of landscape painting. The artist was in Rome and competing against many established artists, which perhaps forced him to progress as quickly as he did. It was also by about the time that Landscape with Merchants appeared that the artist was starting to forge very much his own path, when previously he tended to just repeat the style of others who had inspired and influenced him up to that point. One can describe his genius when considering the rate at which he improved during this period, allowing him to focus on particular aspects of his work from then onwards.

The painting is 144cm wide, and 97cm tall. It can today be found in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington and will often be out on display, because of the significance of this artist. The artist would make detailed notes around his paintings and drawings, including accurate dates, but unfortunately he did not begin this process until after Landscape with Merchants was completed. Success would later come about for Claude and this persuaded him to better document his work from that point onwards. There are not many artworks from Claude to be found in the US but a few are owned by the National Gallery of Art, Washington and this venue is one of the best ways to learn more about this important artist within North America. They also have a number of his drawings which also help to tell us much more about his working practices.